Browsing through Google News for bits on mormons has taught me that you never know what crazy stuff is going on out there. This morning, I came across this little tidbit about a renegade plot to raise up assassins to kill the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. Perhaps the plotters were frustrated with the institutional framework for overthrow that Nate Oman discusses elsewhere.
The thing that struck me about these poor creatures is the way they’ve been interrogated by the government and put on the stand to testify against their prophet. Their responses show the shattered mind of people that have been reprogrammed. At the same time, I wonder how mormons would have testified on the stand during the days of polygamy prosecutions — or for that matter, how would we testify on the stand about the church we currently belong to? Think of this interchange, from the article:
[plot witness Dawn] Godman said that, long after her arrest, she believed that Glenn Taylor Helzer, “working with the angels,” would free her to continue God’s work.
“My breaking away from Taylor Helzer has been a continuous process for the last four years,” she said. “It’s gone back and forth. It’s been a struggle.”
Prosecutor Harold Jewett asked Godman if she still thought Glenn Taylor Helzer was a prophet.
“You’re still not sure, are you?” he said.
She responded, “At times, no.”
I believe quite firmly that Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet; were I to bear my testimony, I’d say that I know he is a prophet. But what would I say were I not bearing testimony, but giving it in court? Objective standards of witnessing and proof seem inapplicable to a church-based ‘testimony.’ What would you say on the stand?